Monday, December 26, 2011

Little One's first Christmas...

christmas2011 1

birthday2011 lunch

birthday2011 lunch

...and on Christmas Eve, my first birthday as a Mama.

Met my dearest friends and little ones for tea and scones at a nursery cafe. Dappled light, babes in arms, summer dresses, young sisters on the grass immersed in their drawings, dads in sunnies, and little pink cheeks after a hot morning out.

At night we had Brazilian Christmas with K's family and opened our presents at midnight. We have only just discovered the magic of bouncers and were ever so pleased when she spent most of the night happily snoozing in a nearby room to the muted sounds of hyped up little people and happy chatter at the dinner table.

Christmas Day was special...beginning the day as a family of three for the first time, and joining the rest of the family for lunch at Mum and Dad's, including Little Sister who is back from London for a brief visit. Saskia charmed her little cousins, slept when Christmas lunch was being served, became fascinated by the twinkly lights on the tree and was very blessed to receive a thoughtful array of gifts. I kept glancing at her cousins and thinking about what it will be like next year when she's a walking (maybe), talking little being...

*Ceramic ornaments from the lovely Paper Boat for me and one for the Little One...will make this a tradition every year.

**Thanks Mum & Dad for the sweet geranium flower boxes for the balcony. Makes me feel all European villager when I'm watering them.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2 months

2 months

2 months on and the little one... growing cheeks good enough to eat and a baby belly that just invites tickles and kisses wears 000 her best smiles first thing in the morning (which is lucky because.....)
...has had a few weeks of unsettled nights, teaching her parents the true meaning of the word patience
...graduated from swiping to spinning the wheels on her play gym, while her papa sings, You Spin me Right Round Baby
...ain't that fond of car rides (I thought this was a given?!) showers with her papa and loves staring at the flowers on the tiles
...continues to dig the sling
...will fall asleep when her mama carries her and dances to this song (I've jinxed this now, I do realise that)
...makes her parents feel their hearts expanding every day


2 months2

2 months4

2 months3

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

As a new Mama I've learnt....

changetable looks

changetable singalong2

changetable singalong3

....that I have a terrible voice. And all the nursery rhymes I sing have the same tune.

But she doesn't mind.

(Her favourite for changetable sing-a-long is Heads & Shoulders with tickles in all the right places...and she seems to enjoy dancing to Nina Simone's My Baby Just Cares for Me...but to send her off to sleep I always sing the lullaby my Granny would sing to us. It's about the only thing that sounds in tune. Lots of practise I guess.)

Any songs you would recommend I add to my repertoire? Any that you or your Little Ones particularly loved?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The First Six Weeks...

sculpture garden

sculpture garden2

sculpture garden3

...they say are the hardest.

But you don't really understand that they mean you will be jolted into a new kind of reality. You will be faced with decisions to make quickly, and at almost every turn. And your heart will break a million times a day...but in the best possible way.

We came home from the birth centre the morning after she was born. Carrying her through the door of our home I felt a surge of excitement and suddenly it all seemed very real. She was our Little One to nurture and love. And she would grow up in our home amongst the treetops.

The first few days are a blur now. Although she was a content newborn, feeding and sleeping as well as could be hoped, I was exhausted (after the hormone high wore off), swollen and sore, and finding it hard to walk and sit. If I'm honest, those first few days I felt completely overwhelmed and functioned in a trance-like state. I was so grateful for the help and support that came so willingly from family and friends, and spent most of the time tucked up in bed, nursing and dozing.

It came as a shock to me that breastfeeding was a real skill, and not something that came naturally and easily. I was lucky that little Saskia was brought to my chest after the birth, found the breast and was able to latch on - but a few days later, the attachment on one breast was causing the most excruciating pain and I cried at every feeding. My nipple was cracked and I was slowly losing confidence in my ability to breastfeed. A lovely neighbour dropped in a care package when she heard about the trouble I was having, which included these life saving devices and a breastfeeding DVD. I would watch the DVD whilst feeding and experiment with various poses and techniques. It felt like hard work. The midwives visited every day and were also invaluable in helping me overcome the feeding problems. Some time in week 2 I had a breakthrough and the attachment finally felt right which was a huge relief.

The first two weeks we stayed at home, venturing out only to take short walks around the Village and check the letterbox. It was lovely to have K by my side at this time, and I was dreading when he had to go back to work. We had our first outing on the last day of his paternity leave, taking a trip to our favourite cafe. K was pretty relaxed about it all, but I spent a lot of time lifting the wrap on her pram to check on her every 2 minutes. She slept soundly the whole time, oblivious to my anxious state. When K went back to work I was surprised at how easy the transition was. The days went quickly, so quickly - something I know every Mama understands. I barely had time to think, it's just me doing this.

I started to gain more confidence by week 4 - the pain from the birth had subsided, feeding was much easier (although I still feel a little clumsy, propping myself up with pillows and fumbling with bra straps), and we were taking short trips in the car. Things were starting to feel more manageable. I was getting better at reading her ways of communicating and felt myself relax more.

The Little One is yet to establish a sleeping routine - still too early, I'm sure. But I'm constantly amazed at how little sleep you can survive on. Early on, she would snooze happily in her bassinet, often being patted to sleep if she was a little unsettled, but now it's a little trickier and we are still trying to get the hang of the sleep thing. During the day, her favourite place to sleep is on her Papa's tummy or nestled into the crook of his arm - and 3 or 4 hour stints at night in her bassinet is the norm, with a cuddle in bed with us when she wakes for her feed around dawn.

These first six weeks have been challenging...but also exhilarating, mind-blowingly wonderful and ever so precious. It's all about those smiles and sparkling eyes. That's why we do it, right?

*Photos taken on Papa K's birthday in the NGA Sculpture Garden

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dancin' shoes

heidi party shoes

We went to a charming little engagement party this weekend. My best friend (and cousin) is marrying her lovely American beau and we all gathered to toast the beginning of, what is sure to be, a beautiful life together.

Naturally Saskia was wearing her best party outfit - which included her exquisite new pair of Heidi Walks shoes. Big love to this blogging genius and the Heidi Walks crew for putting together the giveaway. Her first pair of dancin' shoes. Bless.

The party was held in and around vintage trains which are part of the family's bed and breakfast accommodation. It's a pretty special place ordinarily, but for this occasion the carriages had been dolled up with strings of lanterns and buntings, and freshly picked posies and old tablecloths decorated the tables on the train's verandah. At night we all danced to records and hung out on hay bales dragged up to the side of the dance floor.

I have to say we only lasted until 11pm though. Little One was just beside herself with excitement and loved the funk and soul music just a little bit too much. A long, dark and quiet trip home was enough to send her off to sleep...

Ps. Did I mention that I baked 50 red velvet cupcakes for the party? Crazy pre-baby idea that was pulled off successfully...thanks to my own dear Mum for spending all day Friday cuddling the Little One while I mixed, poured and baked those little red gems. Great recipe from here.

engagement party1

engagement party4

engagement party2

engagement party3

Monday, November 21, 2011

Because you're never too young to read...

reading my dad

reading my dad2

I think she's got a favourite book already.

Friday, November 18, 2011



She's craves closeness at the moment. Lying tummy to tummy, tucked up in the sling, or nestled into the crook of an arm. So very precious.

According to research this type of behaviour comes right before a baby's developmental leap. Her world is changing and she feels a bit overwhelmed so she wants to cling to her Mama.

Knowing this makes me all the more happier about carrying her around with me or snuggling with her more than usual. I'm aware it won't last forever so I'm soaking up every minute of the time spent close to my baby girl... I think I even look forward to that quiet time, pacing the hall at night, patting her off to sleep and listening to her breathing slow down to soft sighs.

...and for those of you admiring the teapot snapped in my last post, it is part of a special edition tea set by Kat Macleod...while we're talking about that clever lady (and friends at Ortolan), pop in here for a laugh and sign up for some inbox's forecast made me laugh. Out loud.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

1 month

1month portrait

One month on and the little one is...
...getting to know her Mama and Papa K slowly and in beautiful ways
...quite an alert little thing, with those steel blue eyes darting around when awake
...loving bath time
...feeding well
...testing Mama and Papa from the hours of 7pm to midnight most nights
...taking rides in the pram around the village and getting to know the calls of the birds and the bumps and twists in the path
...charming the pants off her grandparents, family, friends and strangers in cafes her sweetest when snuggled up on her Papa's chest making sweet cooing sounds...our little dove
...a strong little lady, holding her head up already and kicking like Kewell at toilet time
...bringing her Mama and Papa more joy than they could ever imagine

One month on and Mama is...
...struggling to write blog posts...but knows that you'll all understand...falling in love with your baby takes priority (and most waking hours)...hope to be back soon with more on the ride that is motherhood.

1month portrait7

1month portrait5

1month portrait6

roses from mum's garden
While we're on the topic of all things beautiful...Roses for Saskia Rose from Jan-Ma's garden.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Birth


Monday night I went to bed early while K stayed up to work. My 41 week appointment with our midwife was scheduled for Tuesday morning and we were going to discuss plans for an induction. As I settled into the pillows I reached for my Birth book to read up on induction and thought, no, I should wait until the morning. I was conscious of remaining positive and 'in the moment', and didn't want to go to sleep thinking about interventions.

Just before midnight, as K climbed into bed, I felt the first twinge of heavy period pain. I kept quiet for the first few waves, as I wanted to make sure it was the real thing. A few nights earlier I thought I was having contractions, and had bitterly disappointed K when we realised it was a false alarm. When I was sure that what I was feeling had some real purpose and power behind it, I gently woke K up and we both lay there quietly, but full of anticipation, excitement and curiosity.

As each wave began I would wake K who was lying behind me, and he would reach around and hold my belly through each contraction. I was using the Ujjayi breathing techniques I learnt in my pre natal yoga classes and the soft ocean sound was comforting and relaxing. I felt strong and focused, and soothed by the thought that the three of us were working together. The contractions continued into the early morning hours, irregular and mild, varying between 4 to 15 minutes apart, and allowing us to nap in the longer stretches.

I felt full of hope when the sun came up and knew that my baby would be born today. There was something comforting and promising about the daylight hours. Just before 7am I rang my Mum and told her I was in early labour. I felt quite emotional and teary when saying the words aloud. K kept holding me and rubbing my back, and we stayed downstairs in bed as I didn't feel like moving much. He reminded me to keep my mouth and jaw relaxed, and I kept thinking about 'letting go', trusting in my body's perfect timing and design, staying present, and 'letting go even more'.

My midwife texted me to see if it was still ok to come around at 10am for our appointment and I rang her to let her know my contractions had started. Great timing, she said, I'll be over to check your progress. We started listening to the relaxation I'd been using throughout my pregnancy and waited for her to arrive. Everything felt very calm and I was surprised at how manageable the rushes were with conscious breathing. By the time the midwife came, accompanied by our lovely student midwife, Jade (who had been with us since the first appointment), I had made my way upstairs and draped myself over a swiss ball. Being on all fours felt right. I could still maintain a conversation with pauses for the stronger waves, and when my Mum turned up with tears in her eyes we all started laughing (I always thought people who said they cracked jokes in labour were making that up - but it really is possible to get the giggles during such a momentous occasion!).


An examination revealed I was 3cm dilated and the baby's head was firm against my cervix. My midwife told us to continue labouring at home if we were happy to do so (we were) and to make our way to the Birth Centre once the contractions maintained a more regular pattern for half an hour or so and were 2-3 minutes apart. Almost as soon as she and Jade left we noticed that the rushes were coming more frequently, 2 mins apart. It was turning into a bright Spring day outside but I felt quite cold. Mum and K layered blankets over me and I lay down on the floor. At some point I remembered the list on my dresser which detailed the things I still had to pack in the hospital bag, but that all seemed insignificant now and the waves were needing my entire focus. I remained calm and quiet, and K timed each contraction.

A half hour of regular contractions passed but I felt strong and confident I could stay at home a little longer. I was back on all fours, swaying my hips, breathing deeply and focussing inward. After about an hour I felt the intensity had stepped up and all of a sudden I knew we had to leave for the Birth Centre. Mum and K ran about gathering our bags and I grew more and more eager to be on our way. Outside it was warm and as I made my way to the car I remember thinking, next time I'm walking up the path to our house it will be with our baby. It made me smile and gave me a surge of energy.

The car ride to the Birth Centre was surreal. My contractions had slowed a little and both K and I thought it was hilarious that the people driving next to us had no idea that I was in labour. I guess it was just an ordinary day for them, but it was such a momentous occasion for us.

When we arrived at the Birth Centre, just before midday, Jade had prepared the room for us and I immediately curled over the swiss ball. The room was comfortable and familiar. K kept offering me sips of water and handfuls of gummi bears, and Mum was popping in and out of the room with words of encouragement and food for K. The waves were getting stronger and I was becoming less aware of what was happening around me.

It was at this point that I started my birthing roar. Oh my, it felt so good. It came from deep down inside and startled even me at first, but once I started, I couldn't stop. I'd throw my head back and move with the sound. As I'd wind down after each rush, K and Jade would offer encouragement and tell me how well I was doing. I felt strong and courageous.

After about 2 hours of labouring on the swiss ball and floor mat, K suggested I get into the bath. The water was soothing and warm. I was still on all fours and roaring with each wave. Soon after getting in I had the urge to start pushing, and both Jade and my midwife encouraged me to do so if it felt right. The surges would roll through my body, and at first I was quite surprised by their force and the intensity but they provided a rhythm and a focus and I tried to work with them, trusting in my body and my baby. This felt like the hardest part of the birth but I was determined to stay strong and active if my body would let me. I remember my midwife exclaiming, oh Claire, reach down between your legs and you can feel your baby's head. I was shocked and elated that I had already birthed the baby's head....but when I reached down I realised it was only a small patch of head that was protruding. I almost had the energy to laugh. I was so conscious of staying positive but at this point I was exhausted and aching from all the pushing, I cried to K, I can't do this anymore. My midwife turned to K and said, well, it won't be long now.

It wasn't until I changed positions, squatting in the bath with my back to the birthing team (Jade, Kleber, my midwife, Mum and K's Mum - who had only just arrived and was nervously praying in the background!), and almost an hour and a half later, that I realised how close I was to birthing my baby. The thought of holding my baby, and if I'm honest, relief from the intensity of the surges, carried me through the last half hour of pushing. I gripped the wall rails with fervour, relished in the warmth of the water poured over my back in between contractions, and gathered all my energy, energy that I didn't know I had, to help bring my baby to me.

I roared with relief when her head was born, and reached down to feel her soft hair waving in the water. She opened her eyes and looked straight into the mirror K was holding, looking for her Papa. I waited for the next wave and then guided her body out and back between my legs. Jade scooped her up, passed her to me and she curled up quietly on my chest. I held this little being, shaking and sobbing with such joy.

My firsts thoughts were: I really did this, I'm so grateful my baby arrived without complications and is healthy, I feel like I could smile forever. My first words were: my baby, my baby, my baby (repeat x 15). I was so overwhelmed and fascinated by the baby in my arms that I took me a while to hear K and my Mum urging me to check whether we had a little boy or girl.

We have a daughter, I smiled.


...A heartfelt thank you for all the lovely comments left on the blog after Saskia's birth. I was touched by your words and feel very lucky to share our story with such a supportive, inspiring, genuine and kind (online) community...x

Monday, October 17, 2011

Meet the Little One...

My bubbas

Saskia Rose...

Born 11 October into the water. 3.4kg with a mop of dark hair and sweet cherry lips.

More details to come shortly. For now though, I can't stop gazing at the little girl in my arms. We're still so giddy with love and I'm soaking up every moment.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

40 weeks

40 weeks

It was my Granny's birthday yesterday so Mum and I went to put some flowers on her grave. Bluebells and lilacs. I haven't been to her grave as a pregnant lady so I imagined her seeing me in all my 40 week glory. I think she would have been pretty thrilled.

This last week I have just felt a bit slow. Not as many adventures out of the house - apart from a stroll around the village or down to the coffee shop. Days are spent doing some gardening (on all fours, pulling out the moves for the little one to wriggle down), progressing the quilt, catching up with old friends on the phone, and watching The Wire (awesome, no?) at nights with K and a bowl of ice cream. It's rather lovely, this being on maternity leave business.

Blissed out on a pre natal massage yesterday, and although it's probably stretching the budget to do so it's been such a lovely indulgence. I've had one every fortnight since about 34 weeks and I'm booked in for an induction massage next Wednesday if the little one is still wriggling about in there.

I'm still feeling Braxton Hicks contractions every day, and perhaps they've stepped up in frequency, but it still feels like there's a few days to go at least...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

39 weeks

39 weeks

Little one still in belly.

I'm not fed up yet. In fact, I'm still very happy just pottering about, enjoying the kicks (mostly) and carrying this precious load. I think K is finding these last few weeks hard though - and is getting mighty impatient to meet our little one. We've met some teeny newborns over the past few weeks and I can see that he is aching to hold his own baby. I guess it must be hard for him, not feeling the little one's movements so intimately, to feel that same connection - and that's where the eagerness for this baby to be born comes from. But not long now....

We're still hanging things in the nursery and adding little treasures - but I'll post some peeks soon, Little Sister (and others who have been asking). K and I will go in most nights and just look around, flicking through the books on the shelves, smoothing down blankets or holding up the outfits and carrying on about little arms and feet that will soon be sticking out of the rompers. Such the dags.

But you can't blame us for being excited.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Breakfast in Bed

breakfast in bed2

Inspired by a purchase at a garage sale this morning (a watermelon pink old-school breakfast tray), I picked up some croissants on my way home and surprised K by sending him back to bed. We neglected the chores and opted instead for a morning under the covers. Who knows when we'll get the chance to do that again...just the two of us.

Ps. The Rubik's cube was a geeky little garage-sale present for K, as we'd been discussing an article from this magazine about the puzzle...did you know that the 3x3x3 world record is currently 6.24 seconds?...and is held by a 15-year-old from Melbourne. Fun fact.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

38 weeks

38 weeks

I've been thinking so much about the little one lately. Mainly wondering what he/she will look like (will they have K's bubba lips, his chocolate skin, my funny nose, my little 'pincer' fingers!)...but also of course, whether the little one is a little boy or a little girl. I still don't have a strong feeling either way. In the beginning of my pregnancy people were telling me with certainty that my baby was a boy...but now some good friends, and both K's mum and my mum have changed their minds. But really, who knows? I just thought it would be fun record what people thought and look back at the predictions later...

Another kind of prediction you can't avoid as a mama-to-be is the old, when will the baby be born. My due date is in early October and very close to my Granny's birthday so was always happy to know that the babe would be born around this time...and every Libran I know is a beautiful soul.

But anytime you want to make that journey, little one, is fine with me. I'm feeling ready. I'm armed with positive thoughts, and an open attitude, and can't wait to embrace every moment of this amazing experience.

Just wait until your papa gets back from Melboune please. (tomorrow afternoon)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

If a baby drops out of your tummy when you're shopping...

If a baby drops out of your tummy

Will do.

When I was 10 years old our family went to live in England for a year. Most weekends, we would head out for a walk in the countryside somewhere, visit a castle or ruins and have a Sunday meal at the pub. Along the way we would often duck into charity shops or stumble across a car boot sale. It was on one of these trips that I picked up a series of books of children's sayings compiled by Nanette Newman. They are total classics.

I came across them when we were unpacking books for the nursery and had a good old giggle.

Read on for a chuckle.


footballers on telly


the stapler


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

37 weeks

37 weeks

The past week has been a lovely mix of productive and relaxing times. It's a relief to me that the little one's clothes are now washed, folded and stacked in neat piles in drawers or hung on mini hangers in the cupboard, the nursery is starting to take shape, my hospital bag is packed (albeit with a few items still to add), a few final baby goodies have been ordered and Mum and I have plans to head out tomorrow to tick the last few items off my bebe shopping list.

I've also had some time to catch up with friends, cuddle a new babe (which definitely made me feel a little impatient to meet our little one), enjoy another pre natal massage and hit some garage sales over the weekend - picking up some wooden toys and puzzles, and a lovely old bevelled edged mirror for the nursery.

The little one continues to move and dance about in my belly - and I'm beginning to notice some twitches and pains way down low. I woke to some aches, almost period pain-like, early this morning and lay wondering if they were going to progress into anything more. They didn't...and whilst I feel we are getting close, I'm sure there is still quite some time before we meet our little one. It feels reassuring to know that my body is starting to prepare...

PS. Some sweet, sweet decals from Shanna Murray's charming collection arrived in the post today, and just because this lovely lady posted about them only yesterday (spooky!) I thought I'd include a few pics as they just delightful and capable of bringing a little bit of happiness and a touch of surprise to your walls...




Monday, September 12, 2011


aspeshaly for you

Little 8 year-old Odessa learnt to crochet in the holidays and made my baby a special gift. This gets me every time...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

36 weeks

36 weeks

Time for another bare belly shot, I thought. Before it's gone. (Just excuse the daggy nursing bra).

I am endlessly fascinated by how this little one fits and feels within my body. The round, firmness of a pregnant belly is just so soothing...and it's a beautiful feeling to know you are carrying a precious little being around with you.

We had our check up with the midwife today and were pleased to hear that the little one is 3/5 engaged, perched in a lovely position, head down with spine curved gently on my left side. I've been practicing cat pose (when I remember) and being careful not to slouch on the sofa or in the car, so maybe my diligence has paid off. It comes at a price though (one I'm very happy to pay for a well-positioned babe, mind you)...I can't enjoy a long soak on my back in the bath anymore. Boo.

Speaking of such matters, we're planning on having a water birth (all going well) as the idea really appeals to me and they can facilitate this at the birth centre we are going to, so any advice, reading or links on this subject are more than welcome. Is it very different to a birth 'on land'?

Ps. Big love to Meu Amor, Papa-to-be. Who I know will make the most achingly beautiful father. Hope you liked your fathers day reads - one for you and the little one...and one for just you.


Monday, September 5, 2011


teeny tiny washing2

French bloomers

teeny tiny washing

So I've skipped a bump post...and whilst that troubled me for a few days I've decided to embrace a more accepting attitude. I'm starting to realise that you can't be a perfectionist when raising a bebe.

It's been lovely to slow down over the last week or so...notice where the sun falls in corners of our house, gently rinse the wondersuits, master the art of brewing a pot of tea, pick small posies to pop in each room and send emails or letters I've been meaning to write for some time.

The sweet little bloomers (oops - I mean romper! I'm such an amatuer!) you can see in the middle pic are part of a present sent by Little Sister. She picked them up from a vintage store in Paris. Natch. Needless to say, I couldn't resist taking a photo of teeny tiny clothes drying on the clothes horse - I know it's probably done to death, but it really does melt your heart.